Nomalanga is simply ‘Brilliance and Black Excellence’ personified. Her works as a Creative in the movie industry can be deeply felt as her passion glow visibly. She also thrives as an Art practitioner whose love for impact aligns with ours as an organization. Her story stays one of the most thrilling and inspiring yet, and we cannot but stay in awe of how she combines just all these qualities while maintaining beauty, inside out.
Join us on this special annual ISSUE- As Nomalanga shares a truckload of inspiration on her inspiring journey as a Creative.
Enjoy and Stay Inspired
The beauty of authenticity. The uniqueness it brings to the table. This and more are what you effortlessly reflect as an actress. Can you please share some highlights of how you began your creative journey?
Yeah, so I have always been a creative being. Like Eden said, all of us are born Creatives. It just depends on how you choose to express, accept, and live into it. So my first qualification was in Visual Art and yeah I have a Bachelors in Fine Art, and I had this thought of being a Visual Artist, this is what I was pursuing until I had some personal struggles, and it got in the way, and I could not express myself in that way anymore. I just got really blocked. I think a lot of artists can attest to that block when certain things come your way like some certain life challenges. So, I then needed a new outlet, a new form of a release for me, so that’s when I decided to go into acting and yeah that’s how I started acting and performing.
What does Art mean to you?
That’s an interesting question, Art to me is consciousness, it’s awakening, its awareness. Art is a place I go to, to look for myself and at myself to look at myself personally on a personal level and also part of a collective. It’s really the place I go to interrogate my shadow, and ultimately to discover my own healing, it’s everything.
Can you please share some quick tips for young creatives out there stuck on their creative journey because of self-doubt or any other internal limiting factor?
I think it’s really important for emerging creatives or anyone really to understand that doubt, insecurities and the likes are a part of the human condition, like all of us will experience these moments in our lives when we feel we are not enough for whatever reason, so I think first we should all come to terms that we go through those experiences as human beings. We cannot run away from it, but I think the important thing is not let yourself get sucked in and to become stuck in that space. For me personally I have created a culture about caring for myself in those times and also to remind myself of the intention behind why I am doing the work I am doing. To use the work in finding ways. To use your work as a way to guide yourself and also inspire yourself, and that’s why it’s there. That’s what I will say to anyone who is struggling with issues of feeling validated, we all go through it.
We are grateful to have you onboard this special ISSUE with the theme – The Art of Christmas. Do you celebrate Christmas? What’s your most memorable moment yet, in this holiday season?
So, I am not very religious in the traditional sense. We grew up celebrating Christmas but not the same as the Western countries. Some Eastern countries I suppose have also adopted the Western way of celebrating Christmas.
For Africans it’s very much in the middle of summer, not for most of us and it’s s very hot. There is a lot of hopping from family members to family members just connecting with everyone because for us in South Africa we also shutdown during that time so most of the countries stop working for about two weeks. It’s a time really to connect with family members, friends and loved ones. Yeah it’s just as simple as that really. I do not really have one moment that stands out to be honest, but I know growing up and also till now as a grown woman I have to have a brand-new outfit for Christmas day. It’s how we grew up. Our parents will make sure we are dressed till the night on the day and every one will get a new outfit, and it’s something I still carry on with right now in my own life right now I make sure I have a new outfit.
You also describe yourself as an Art practitioner. Can you please share more on this?
So, coming from a Visual Art background I started creating casual events, exhibitions, festivals. That’s just something that feeds a different part of my creativity and yeah I really enjoy it. It’s something that I really love to do. From producing, conceptualizing and delivering Visual Arts events. That’s something that I do on the side.
What do you consider most fulfilling about being a part of the Netflix masterpiece – The Brave Ones, especially on your role as Ayanda?
So, there were so many things I experienced during this journey with Ayanda, you know the role really propelled me to challenge myself in ways that I have never challenged myself before. It was really challenging. Some of the scenes I had to shoot were also very close to my own personal experience. So, yeah it was really, really challenging, but once I was able to do that, you know you get to see what you are capable of as a person you get to say hey look what I can achieve, look what I can do and knowing what the processes were, what you had to go through to get there. So, it’s been a lot! I was very blessed to work with some of the creme de la creme in TV & film Creative Industry and of course having to work with one of the best directors in South Africa. Also, a platform like with Netflix with a huge reach across the world, so that was quite a blessing. Like I love saying, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
How was growing up like?
I had a really blessed childhood, I’m the first child in my family and I think my parents were really excited to have a child that they poured themselves into making sure that I was happy, I was fulfilled and also well-rounded as a person. So, I got to experience a bunch of creative experiences, sort of creative expression. From a young age I was exposed to music, I sang. I got to explore myself in different ways. My parents thought it important that I get to try everything and then decide for myself what I don’t want to be and what I naturally lean towards I was very lucky in that way. It was a very sheltered life and also particularly growing up in a town in South Africa, it was quite violent during my early days you know, for Black people especially in this country. So, to have that, my parents did everything within their means to make sure we were still well-rounded as human beings. So, I was very lucky in that way. I would say I was truly blessed.
Do you feel Creatives in developed countries are at an advantage than those in developing countries?
I think there is something unique we as developing countries bring to the experience you know, and of course it’s an opportunity for us to show the world what we are capable of. In a world that doesn’t always believe in us and also doesn’t always believe we are capable, when we show up, it’s quite a special thing because we bring something different. So, in that way I think it’s really just like the Netflix show like the ‘Brave Ones’ I just did. It’s our voice, it’s a story told in our voice, we made the choices, we decided what we want to present to the world. So, in that way I think we have an edge. There’s an edge we have, not the same as an American production or experience or even the Nigerian one for that matter, but the things that are a sole point for me is how artists are treated in the developing world in terms of regulation and rights that we have. We are not quite the same level as the developed countries. That is something we have a lot to work on.
Balancing work time and rest time is a struggle for many Creatives. Please share a few tips on how you try to balance work time, rest time and family time?
It can be quite gruesome on the body as well as on the mind. The long hours can take its toll on you, so, for me, I absolutely insist on having at least a day off in a week. I know for some people that’s unheard-of, but I need it if I’m going to be functioning at my best, you know like I will take a day off in a week and earlier on I spoke about a culture that I have created. About caring for myself and that’s part of it. The self-care, the nurturing. I enjoy painting, still I enjoy going on hikes with my friends. Sometimes I just want to sleep, sometimes I watch some mindless TV, but it’s just to completely plague of work, social media and everything. For that day, it’s just me and the things that I choose to surround myself with.
What does success mean to you?
It has changed a lot over the years. I used to feel like I needed to be what other people prioritized, like I needed to be what the world defines as success. But having gone through my own personal struggles and growth and having evolved, I have come to understand that having peace for me is very important. When I have peace in my life then I’m balanced and have well-being. Really, that’s the personification of success for me and the other thing is also having the agency and the ability to choose what kind of life I want for myself. That is success. For me, it is power. It took me time to get here, but yeah that’s what I value the most.
Please briefly tell us something we do not know about Nomalanga Nkosi.
I’m a very private person, I am very protective about my personal life, I think we have a very weird culture of oversharing and self-glorification and wanting to be seen to be something all the time, and I am just not here for it. I value my peace.
Let’s go a little poetic: if poetry is a rainbow and you have a choice of one color in that pallete, what would that be and why?
Definitely yellow, orange, red and yea I love yellow cause my name Nomalanga stands for “mother of the sun or the day” so yellow has been my favorite color because of that light happiness, and also those three colors. And you know they speak to creativity and being grounded and trusting your own intuition and those are my reasons.
Massive Love Nomalanga!
The ICONIC Team